And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And when they were come.—Two years or thereabouts (A.D. 45-48) had passed since their mission. During that interval little probably had been heard of them, and we can picture to ourselves the eagerness with which the Christiani of Antioch would gather to listen to their report.
How he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.—This is noticeable as the first occurrence, as far as the chronological order of the books of the New Testament is concerned, of a very characteristic phrase. It would seem to have been a favourite metaphor of St. Paul’s (comp. 1Corinthians 16:1; 2Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3), and comes in here, probably, as a fragment from his speech. From this point of view it is interesting to note the recurrence of the phrase in Revelation 3:8, both St. Paul and St. John, representing as they did different sections of the Church (Galatians 2:9), agreeing in the thought that the door of the Father’s house was now opened wider than it had ever been before, and that no man might shut it.
‘THE DOOR OF FAITH’
There are many instances of the occurrence of this metaphor in the New Testament, but none is exactly like this. We read, for example, of ‘a great door and effectual’ being opened to Paul for the free ministry of the word; and to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia, ‘He that openeth and none shall shut’ graciously says, ‘I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut.’ But here the door is faith, that is to say faith is conceived of as the means of entrance for the Gentiles into the Kingdom, which, till then, Jews had supposed to be entered by hereditary rite.
I. Faith is the means of our entrance into the Kingdom.
The Jew thought that birth and the rite of circumcision were the door, but the ‘rehearsing’ of the experiences of Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary tour shattered that notion by the logic of facts. Instead of that narrow postern another doorway had been broken in the wall of the heavenly city, and it was wide enough to admit of multitudes entering. Gentiles had plainly come in. How had they come in? By believing in Jesus. Whatever became of previous exclusive theories, there was a fact that had to be taken into account. It distinctly proved that faith was ‘the gate of the Lord into which,’ not the circumcised but the ‘righteous,’ who were righteous because believing, ‘should enter.’
We must not forget the other use of the metaphor, by our Lord Himself, in which. He declares that He is the Door. The two representations are varying but entirely harmonious, for the one refers to the objective fact of Christ’s work as making it possible that we should draw near to and dwell with God, and the other to our subjective appropriation of that possibility, and making it a reality in our own blessed experience.
II. Faith is the means of God’s entrance into our hearts.
We possess the mysterious and awful power of shutting God out of these hearts. And faith, which in one aspect is our means of entrance into the Kingdom of God, is, in another, the means of God’s entrance into us. The Psalm, which invokes the divine presence in the Temple, calls on the ‘everlasting doors’ to be ‘lifted up,’ and promises that then ‘the King of Glory will come in.’ And the voice of the ascended Christ, the King of Glory, knocking at the closed door, calls on us with our own hands to open the door, and promises that He ‘will come in.’
Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians ‘that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith,’ and there is no other way by which His indwelling is possible. Faith is not constituted the condition of that divine indwelling by any arbitrary appointment, as a sovereign might determine that he would enter a city by a certain route, chosen without any special reason from amongst many, but in the nature of things it is necessary that trust, and love which follows trust, and longing which follows love should be active in a soul if Christ is to enter in and abide there.
III. Faith is the means of the entrance of the Kingdom into us.
If Christ comes in He comes with His pierced hands full of gifts. Through our faith we receive all spiritual blessings. But we must ever remember, what this metaphor most forcibly sets forth, that faith is but the means of entrance. It has no worth in itself, but is precious only because it admits the true wealth. The door is nothing. It is only an opening. Faith is the pipe that brings the water, the flinging wide the shutters that the light may flood the dark room, the putting oneself into the path of the electric circuit. Salvation is not arbitrarily connected with faith. It is not the reward of faith but the possession of what comes through faith, and cannot come in any other way. Our ‘hearts’ are ‘purified by faith,’ because faith admits into our hearts the life, and instals as dominant in them the powers, the motives, the Spirit, which purify. We are ‘saved by faith,’ for faith brings into our spirits the Christ who saves His people from their sins, when He abides in them and they abide in Him through their faith.Acts 14:27-28. And when they had gathered the church together — It is probable the Christians at Antioch were more than ordinarily met, or could meet, in one place; but on this occasion they called together the leading persons of them, particularly the ministers and deacons, here termed the church, as the heads of the tribes are often called the congregation of Israel, in the books of Moses. Or, perhaps, as many of the people as the place of meeting could contain, came together on this occasion. They rehearsed all that God had done with, or by, them — In the whole of their voyages and journeys, in all the countries through which they had passed. The same expression is used Acts 15:4; but it is explained, (Acts 14:12) of the miracles and wonders which God had wrought among the Gentiles by them; of which wonders the chief, no doubt, was, that God had communicated the Holy Ghost to the Gentile converts, and thereby declared his acceptance of them without circumcision; and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles — Who had continued so long in ignorance, idolatry, and misery; making the gospel to shine into their hearts, and graciously receiving them into the number of his people. Acts 11:4. They related what had happened; their dangers and their success. This they did because they had been sent out by the church, and it was proper that they should give an account of their work; and because it furnished a suitable occasion of gratitude to God for his mercy.
All that God had done ... - In protecting, guarding them, etc. All was traced to God.
and how—in particular.
he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles—to such even as before had not been proselytes. (See on Ac 11:21; and on the language, see 1Co 16:9; 2Co 2:12; Col 4:3). The ascribing directly to God of such access to the Gentiles is to be noted.All that God had done with them; God being with them, and they being labourors with God, 1 Corinthians 3:9 2 Corinthians 6:1. They showed how much God had honoured them in making them his instruments in the conversion of so many souls.
He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles; he had given the Gentiles an opportunity of knowing and believing the gospel. The fleece alone had been wet before, and all the ground round about it dry; and now all the ground is wet, and that fleece was dry; to allude to Judges 6:37-40, by which this mystery was presignified, and can only be resolved by that of our Saviour, Matthew 11:25,26: Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
and had gathered the church together: which was in that place, and who came together at their request; for as they were sent out by them, they judged it proper to call them together; and give them an account of the issue of their work they were recommended by them to the grace of God to fulfil: and being come together at their usual place of meeting,
they rehearsed all that God had done with them; and by them, as instruments; what grace and strength he had given them to preach the Gospel; what numbers of souls were everywhere converted by it; what miracles were wrought by them for the confirmation of it; and what persecutions and sufferings they had endured for the sake of it; and what deliverances were vouchsafed unto them:
and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles; the phrase, "the door of faith", seems to be Jewish; it is to be met with in Jewish writings: it is said (f),
"there are two women found in the world, that express the praise of God, so as all the men of the world have not; and who are they? Deborah and Hannah: Hannah, according to 1 Samuel 2:2 "there is none holy as the Lord, for there is none beside thee" and all proclaim that she , "opens the door of faith to the world", as Acts 14:8 "he raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the beggar from the dunghill, lo, the door of faith; to set them among princes", lo, the faith that is above.''
The sense here seems to be, that God had given an opportunity to the apostles to preach the doctrine of faith unto the Gentiles, and the Gentiles had had an opportunity of hearing and embracing it; God had opened the mouths of his ministers to preach to them, and he had opened their hearts to attend unto it, and receive it; for it may be understood of his giving of them the grace of faith, by which they received Christ, and his Gospel, into their hearts: so a like phrase is used by the Targumist on Jeremiah 33:6 who paraphrases the words thus;
"behold, I will bring unto them healing and redemption, and I will heal them, and I will reveal, or "open to them", , "the door of repentance";''
that is, I will give them repentance: so here, when God is said to open the door of faith to the Gentiles, the sense is, that he had given the grace of faith to them, which came by hearing the word of the Gospel, which he sent them; and gave them encouragement to believe in Christ; so the phrase a door of hope is used in Hosea 2:15.And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 14:27-28. Συναγαγ.] expressly for this object. Comp. Acts 15:30. Calvin observes well: “quemadmodum solent, qui ex legatione reversi sunt, rationem actorum reddere.”
μετʼ αὐτῶν] standing in active connection with them. Comp. Acts 10:38; Matthew 28:20; also 1 Corinthians 15:10; and Mark 16:20 : τοῦ κυρίου συνεργοῦντος. As the text requires no deviation from this first and most natural rendering, both the explanation per ipsos (Beza, Piscator, Heinrichs) and the assumption of a Hebraism עשׂה with עִם (Luke 1:72): quae ipsis Deus fecisset (Calvin, de Dieu, Grotius, Kuinoel, and many others; comp. also de Wette), are to be rejected.
καὶ ὅτι] and, in particular, that, etc.
ἤνοιξε θύραν πίστεως] a figurative designation of admission to the faith in Christ. Corresponding is the figurative use of θύρα in 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3 (of the fulfilling of apostolic work); comp. also εἴσοδος, 1 Thessalonians 1:9.
χρόνον οὐκ ὀλίγον] is the object of διέτριβον, as in Acts 14:3 : they spent not a little time in intercourse with the Christians.Acts 14:27. συν. τὴν ἐκκλ., cf. Acts 15:30, as was natural, for they had been sent out by them.—ἀνήγγειλαν: Acts 15:4 (Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27), lit, to carry back tidings (so in classical Greek, as from a less to a greater), cf. 2 Corinthians 7:7; used here as in Æschylus, Xen., Polyb., of messengers reporting what they had seen or heard (Grimm). Blass takes it as simply = ἀπαγγέλλω as in LXX and later Greek.—ὅσα: “how many (or ‘how great’) things”.—μετʼ αὐτῶν, i.e., on their behalf; cf. Acts 15:4, Luke 1:58; Luke 1:72; Luke 10:37, cf. 1 Samuel 12:24, Psalm 126:2-3, Hebrew עָשָׂה עִם, Psalm 119:65, and cannot = per ipsos, which would require διά—the phrase may therefore be described as a Hebraism; it occurs only in Luke; Friedrich, p. 33.—ὅτι ἤνοιξε … θύραν: a striking coincidence with St. Paul’s use of the same metaphor elsewhere, cf. 1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12, Colossians 4:3, and cf. Revelation 3:8. St. Paul’s Galatian Epistle clearly shows that his missionary work in Galatia had met with much success, and that the Churches now founded held a large place in his affections, cf. Galatians 4:14-15. Enough had been accomplished, even if all his desires were still unfulfilled, to make him eager for a continuation of the work to which he had been called as an Apostle of the Gentiles, see McGiffert, Apostolic Age, pp. 191, 192; Hort, Ecclesia, p. 66: “perhaps the greatest epoch in the history of the Ecclesia at large”: Spitta refers the whole verse to his Redactor, p. 171.
 literal, literally.27. and had gathered the church together] i.e. the Christian congregation at Antioch who had been moved by the Spirit (Acts 13:2) to send them forth. It was fitting therefore that to them should be made a declaration of the results of the Apostolic mission.
opened the door of faith] i.e. had made faith the ground of admission to His kingdom. It was now no longer through circumcision that men should enter in and be known as God’s people, but the Gospel privileges were offered to every one that believed.Acts 14:27. Συναγόντες, when they had gathered together) for this purpose. So ch. Acts 15:30.—ἀνήγγειλαν, they reported) they rehearsed all to those who, conscious of Barnabas and Saul’s Divine call, had eagerly looked for their success. [A true rehearsal of the course of the Gospel may often bring with it manifold fruit: ch. Acts 15:3-4; Acts 15:12. How rare are narrative sermons of this kind!—V. g.]—μετʼ αὐτῶν, with themselves) Comp. μετὰ, with, ch. Acts 15:4; Luke 1:58; Luke 10:37.—θύραν, door) John 10:1-2, etc.; Psalm 118:19. Comp. Acts 10:45, note [When the one Gentile, Cornelius, was admitted, the door was thrown open to all]. Paul calls it εἴσοδον entering in, 1 Thessalonians 1:9Verse 27. - All things for all, A.V.; how that for how, A.V.; a door for the door, A.V. A door. The door is preferable, because "the faith" limits the door to one kind of opening. In Colossians 4:3 the case is a little different both in the A.V. and the R.V., though in the latter "the door of the Word" would be a truer rendering. Observe how the leading idea of the narrative is the conversion of the Gentiles. (See Introduction to the Acts.)
In connection with them; assisting them.
And how (καὶ ὅτι)
Better, that. The and has an incressive and particularizing force: "and in particular, above all."
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